Eric Fischl: Presence of an Absence

London, UK
Until 26 May 2018

Skarstedt presents an exhibition of new paintings by American artist Eric Fischl. “Presence of an Absence” follows his acclaimed exhibition Late America at Skarstedt New York in 2017. In this new body of work, set in domestic interiors and exteriors, there is a palpable sense of disconnect between an outward appearance of wealth and security and an inner sense of fear and longing for which there is no apparent cause.

Following on from the exploration in Late America, at a time of political turmoil, of a society whose misplaced values gives rise to a lack of fulfilment, the paintings in Presence of an Absence continue to engage with this sense of detachment and with universal existential questions.

In some of the works, the figures are dressed in sombre clothing, perhaps coming or going to a funeral. In others, we witness scenes of intimacy that lack desire. Since the 1970s Fischl has been painting scenes of suburban life, conveying through paint what we fail to say in words. A collapse of communication has been prevalent throughout his work and here we see him again ask a series of questions such as “who are these people?” and “how are they connected?.” The lack of obvious answers is typical of his narrative style.

Returning to the private moments and intimate themes that established his name in the 1980s, which he presents without judgment, we are left to draw our own conclusions from the scenes depicted. As ever, this body of work attests to the artist’s unique ability to capture the universal condition of our lives.

The exhibition at Skarstedt will coincide with Running Wild: 80s Painting in America at the Arts Club which features seminal early paintings by Eric Fischl alongside leading American painters David Salle and James Rosenquist.


Eric Fischl. Worry, 2017. © Eric Fischl. Courtesy of Skarstedt